back to article Open source fanciers finger Beeb's Win 7 'sales presentation'

The Open Source Consortium (OSC) has slammed the BBC’s recent coverage of Microsoft for providing a “sales presentation” about its forthcoming operating system, Windows 7. A written complaint from the OSC about the coverage has winged its way to the Beeb’s Fair Trading Unit, which has already deemed the openista group’s …


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  1. Rob McDougall


    Is Rory Cellan-Jones blind now? He's holding a white stick....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get over yourselves

    Seriously? Rabid-mouthed church of the blesid pingu strikes again!

    Surely if they are claiming Windows 7 is at least 2 years away that makes it LESS of a sales pitch as there is no product to sell in the near furture.

    Idiots, they don't do themselves any favours at all with this crap.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward

    BBC involved in advertising?

    surely not?

    how many times have i watched an advert pretending to be a news item....

    hey..i ran out of fingers..

  5. Neil Hoskins

    Public Interest

    To be fair, though, there's a lot of public interest in Windows because most people use it. No, the biggest bit of free marketing the BBC has provided recently was their scaremongering and touting of anti-virus products for mobile phones. They fell for the propaganda from F-Secure and others hook, line, and sinker.

  6. Michael B.

    Another OSC whinge

    If the OSC thinks that is an advertisement then they are seriously deluded. The product demonstration doesn't even seem to work properly on camera. It's just a 50 second tech filler and frankly says volumes about the low bar of the BBC's tech coverage than any perceived MS bias.

    On another note, is this the official OSC have a whinge day? I've seen the OSC whining on other websites today about another seriously insignificant topic.

  7. Ewen Bruce

    How to make a fool of yourself in on easy lesson

    Oh dear, the OSC is starting to look like a small petulant child with nothing better to do than complain about perceived wrongs against its morel high-ground. The fact that it can't even get its facts straight just adds to the embarrassment. I’m more cynical than most (journalists) about the prospects for Windows 7, but complaining about 3 minutes of shallow BBC coverage hardly seems worth the effort of an e-mail.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Odd: The OSC don't mind pro-Open Source stories

    like this, which represents Richard Stallman's preaching without any question.

    Or virtually any BBC technical blog.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Independent analyst ?

    Citing Enderle as an independent analyst does somewhat support the freetard case, though the fact that he can't get multi-touch to work is also entertaining.

    While the forthcoming Windows 7 release may be newsworthy I tend to agree that this was more advertising than information.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Well, duh...

    If the OSC actually viewed the video, they would have seen that they mentioned Apple, far more than they mentioned Microsoft!

  11. twunt


    It even crashes at one point in the film.

  12. abigsmurf
    Thumb Down

    The whining...

    Dear god, let it go freetards.

    A new version of windows is big news and affects lots of people. How is this any worse then their coverage of the iphone or a games console? It's tech news and it's of potential interest.

  13. Aidan Samuel

    Silly me

    I though the tabloid cartel owned the rights to words such as "slammed" and "blasted"?


  14. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Down

    Tried to post the following...

    ...on the comments for the OSC letter, but it appears to not work very well. May be if they ran it on ASP it'd work better (joke, OK?) :P

    "No complaints, though, when the Beeb hagiographise Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu (, or punt Dell's installation of same onto new PCs ( Firstly, you're wrong on the projected delivery date and secondly the idea that no technology should be covered until it's released (note that; Windows 7 does NOT "not exist", it exists in a very early development form), even when there's a preview at a prominent trade show, is frankly bizarre. The BBC covered Hardy Heron pre-release, and it's covered OSX variants as well as the iPhone pre-release. No complaints from OSC about any of that, and those involve commercial entities that effectively received free advertising. One is left, then, with the ineluctable conclusion that what's got you squealing for the waaahmbulance is the fact that it's Microsoft. Hate to break it to you, but they still ship the vast majority of desktop OS sales; if the BBC DIDN'T cover what they were up to then they wouldn't be doing their job. As it happens, I thought they covered a few of the key issues and managed to get a dig in at MS concerning where some of the ideas might have come from (hence the fruity phones line). I'd say it was fair, balanced, not hagiographic, and moderately interesting."

  15. Avi

    As a bit of a linux fanboi

    I really can't see where the OSC are coming from on this. Unless there's more to it than that video.

  16. Matt Bradley

    Multi Touch

    OSC obviously didn't notice the bit when Multi touch failed to work properly, and when they pointed out that Apple already does this... and it works.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Does anybody really know?

    Does anybody really know when W7 is supposed to land? Vague promises of sometime next year are, well, vague.

    Classic post-vapourware, pre-beta product marketing if you ask me.

  18. cor

    Prolly more ignorance than sales

    Wouldn't surprise me if the Beeb journos don't know that MS Windows is just 'one of many' OS choices out there.

    Some people still call a Dyson a Hoover.

  19. Alexis Vallance

    Not a big deal

    To be fair, I don't think there's much wrong with showing a few minutes of footage about an OS. Is it really any different from a car on Top Gear?

    There is actually another BBC Win 7 bit of video on their website which shows it crashing half way through.

  20. Dan Mullen

    Nice advert...

    ...apart from the problem the fella has resizing the image! Think I'll be keeping my mouse :)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    OSC not wrong- in all probability!!!

    "The OSC, which got its facts wrong about when Windows 7 is supposed to land, "

    Have they?? Looking at the M$ track record for late releases my guess is that they will be spot on, if not a little optimistic.

    Flame?? Just trying to keep warm!!!!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That would seem like a news story, 3mins of something that's going to happen in the future, yep, that's news.

    Now, why haven't the OSC bothered to harp on about all the Apple logos that appear on the beeb? Stephen Fry's America thing having him whip out his iPhone/MacBook at every chance, all they could find to do about the state that Apple are based in, is interview their designer.

    I don't really care either way to be honest, but it's a bit like New Labour saying that the Beeb is too pro Tory and the Torys saying that they are too pro Labour...

    (Incidentally an article about Google has just come on the radio, maybe Yahoo should be told...)

  23. Thomas

    Probably justified...

    ... but only in as much as every item the BBC ever show as 'news' is a thin repeat of someone else's press release. I think they cancelled journalism in the wake of Andrew Gilligan.

  24. Richard Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    Deja Vu - anyone remember The Money Programme?

    This reminds me of the 30 minute promotional video for Vista that BBC 2 made - via "The Money Programme" - for the launch of Windows Vista. There was virtually no balance in the programme - the only negative statements in the entire show were that it missed a Christmas launch and they had a brief vox pops at the end where 2 punters claimed it was a) not much different from XP and b) too expensive. Read more on the blatant 30 minute ad for Microsoft here:

  25. Conor Turton


    Funny how they didn't say the same when there was an entire programme devoted to Linux and OSS is mentioned very often.

    Anyway, the Lusers keep telling me it's superior to Windows so surely they'd be so confident in their OS that it wouldn't matter?

  26. Jonathan Adams
    Gates Horns

    Wrong Date?

    <QUOTE>The OSC, which got its facts wrong about when Windows 7 is supposed to land, has claimed that the Beeb is “advertising” the OS at the expense of the UK’s TV licence payers.</QUOTE>

    With the way Microsoft release products are you really sure that they are wrong? :)

  27. Darren Adams

    It's not just open source fanciers

    It's not just open source fanciers who have noticed that the Beeb is extremely Microsoft-centric. Some days the Beeb's technology page is like Microsoft's personal PR machine. The Windows 7 article is just one of many examples. I understand that Microsoft are a company that people are interested in, but if the Beeb only ever run stories about Microsoft, Apple and Google then their readers never get to hear about anything else. It's just not balanced.

  28. Stef
    Gates Horns

    BBC tech

    Sometimes the 'viewer-facing' parts of the BBC do appear pretty tech-unsavvy and/or gullible.

    You'd be forgiven for thinking Microsoft ran the world's computers and Apple the world's PMPs and (toy) phones!

    And as for Click's 'Web reviewer' Kate Russell - "This week I found a website that let's you send flowers to people!" - don't get me started...

  29. R Callan

    Independent Pretenderle

    Since when has Rob Enderle been independent? Any-one remembering his coverage of the early part of the SCO fiasco knows that he is a "gun for hire", who will say whatever his paymasters require of him. Even the website of his "consulting" company, The Enderle Group" makes this quite clear.

    This is just another example of "Microsoft is marvelous" by a organisation (the Beeb) that should be totally neutral, but that seems to be the way of the world unfortunately.

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Peter Hewitt

    what?? no drms?

    So now iPlayer works on Linux and their demands of all BBC content to be flung at them drm free (because of course that'll not go wrong) they now want to stop all talk of windows whatsoever?

    Yawn, at least mactards are amusing.

    Mine's the one with the knitting pattern included

  32. Mark

    OSC right in this case

    If it isn't at least beta level, it isn't the product. If it is to be a review, it needs to be run by equipment as a valid review. Not on supplied hardware (unless such hardware is explicitly stated along with the retail price of that kit).

    Else it isn't a review, it's an ad.

    And it doesn't matter if it is "editorial decision", the BBC cannot run ads. Even if the editor wants to.

  33. David Kelly


    Does anyone take that guy seriously? Almost every time he says anything about Apple or Linux he's proven to be horribly wrong.

  34. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    Another letter

    "A written complaint from the OSC about the coverage has winged its way to the Beeb’s Fair Trading Unit"

    shouldn't that be WHINGED its way there?

  35. FlatSpot
    IT Angle

    "moan at the BBC month"

    Since when has it been up to the Open Source Consortium (OSC) to determine what is and isnt news. Obviously its just trying to cash in on the "moan at the BBC month"....for its directory of nothing useful website.

  36. Edward Rose


    I'd put my money on the Beeb just wanting to look cutting edge.

    There will be enough bad coverage from the Beeb in time I'm sure. I seem to recall both positive and negative coverage for both GNU/Linux and Vista over the past couple years. Were they sales pitches?

    Hate to say it, but I'll side with the Beeb here.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose...

    ...we'll get the usual Wintards complaining about the attitude here whilst not realising that this entire fight is about the freedom to run what you want on a computer and not be dictated to by a megacorp or a gov't. There may be some people shouting loudly about some things but they're needed.

    (Yes, I'm having a bad day.)

  38. davcefai


    I can't believe it! An item mentioning open source and not using "freetards".

    Well done Reg.

  39. goggyturk
    Gates Halo

    They're right

    I'm no frothing open source fanatic and even I can see that the Beeb continually big up MS products. I can't recall seeing a single critical article about their products on any Beeb article.

    However, I suspect that this is due to a few factors.

    Firstly, laziness. MS is used as a one stop shop for 'innovation' and 'tech' news by lazy reporters who can't be arsed doing some actual research to pad out their articles. Who cares that most of the tech was innovated somewhere else?

    Secondly, reputation and marketing. The man on the street will listen to / read the article because he recognises the brand and uses the product. Ok, that's because he has no other option, but this product helps him to do good stuff like emails, eBay bargains, online banking, pr0n and viagra pop ups.

    Thirdly, the Cult of Saint Bill, the insatiable need to lionise the robber barons among us and rationalise their success. This is closely linked to the myth of the philanthropic entrepreneur, which is the modern day version of indulgences.

    I baptise thee in this river of cash. Now go and sin no more.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox, Chrome and Safari

    The cheeky bastards. They weren't complaining when the BBC were pouring articles onto their site about Firefox 3 before it came out, as it came out and after it came out, followed by further 'sales presentations' for Firefox 3.1. All the articles are the same, claiming that they contain new and innovative features that have been available in other browsers for some time, yet give no reference to them at all. That's how you know the BBC are just copying & pasting Mozilla sales presentations emailed to them.

    They also love to publish 'sales presentations' for Safari (or anything else made by Apple, frankly) and were all over Chrome like a rash.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    If only...

    "The BBC News website is now understood to be shredding the letter^H^H^H^H^H^H^H dealing with the complaint."

    If only they did just shred complaint letters.

    Saw a news report about the Bond premiere in London recently - I think that's unfairly advertising the film. In fact I also saw Film 2008 which seemed to advertise a bunch of them - it recommended some, and slated others, with no mention of "other films are available".

    I'm pretty sure you can buy shares in Man Utd these days as well. Bang goes the sports news then...

    I may raise a complaint about the BBC wasting my taxes by dealing with complaints.

    Stoopid stoopid stoopid

  42. Stu
    Jobs Horns


    How is this any worse than the incessant hype surrounding this release of the Jesus Phone that the BBC sustained for days on end? Nothing ever happened about that, despite hundreds of people complaining that it was free advertising for Apple selling a shit phone lacking in features available in many other phones...?

  43. doublejay1973
    Gates Halo


    very thin really.....the ubiquity validates the coverage. they do the same for apple, sony, bmw, ....

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new

    The BBC always presents new technology, be it from Apple, Microsoft or any other major company, in the same way.

    Shame really - if only they had technology reporters who knew something about the subject.

  45. KenBW2
    Paris Hilton


    I'm all for FOSS, and use Ubuntu alone. But this is balls - they're reporting on a product that's of general interest to the public. Are they going to complain that Click on BBC News 24 did a review of Ubuntu?

    Nope, thought not.

    Why Paris? I've mentioned the word balls a few times

  46. TimM


    Perhaps if the open source community would dish up a decent viable OS that will work for everyone including Joe "dumb" Public, and work on all hardware, support all existing hardware, and thus be a viable alternative to Windows...

    ... then they can ask the Beeb to promote their own stuff ;)

    However, Linux (as that's what they're really talking about), is just too complex for both the Beeb and their viewers to comprehend. Not to mention you just can't get a linux distro and slap it on any old hardware (especially laptops) without a world of pain (and yes before the penguins jump in, I mean, take any old laptop you find in PC World etc and slap on a linux distro and tell me that *out of the box* without resorting to browsing geeky linux forums, it will work with everything including the WiFi, touchpad, DVD/Blu-Ray burner, fancy graphics card, etc. I can guarantee you it won't with the majority).

    Anyway, the Beeb promote Macs a lot too. Given that's essentially a unix variant that's been tweaked especially to run only on locked down specific Mac hardware, at least it's a hell of a lot easier for the Beeb and the viewers. Of course it's not free and not completely open source ;)

  47. Geoff Gardiner

    Date not as wrong as suggested

    Thank you for your article. Just a small point: you say at the end "The OSC [...] got its facts wrong about when Windows 7 is supposed to land ... " but that's not really correct.

    Microsoft - according to the Register's own article that you reference - may have brought the publication date forward from "holiday 2010" to "holiday 2009" but "Microsoft's official party line [is] that Windows 7 [will] not ship until 2010". And that was suggested after the complaint was originally made.

    Regards, Geoff

    (Disclosure: I'm on the OSC Council)

  48. Mark

    It doesn't matter if the ad failed to show its good side

    It was an Advert.

    Doesn't matter if it shows it making a computer explode or lots of BSODs. It's an advert.

  49. Mark


    No OS is good for everyone.

    So none of them are ready for use, if we used your criterion.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "And it doesn't matter if it is "editorial decision", the BBC cannot run ads. Even if the editor wants to."

    As I understand it, the rule used to be that the BBC can't make money by advertising. That's different than running an ad, although it was generally interpretted as "not allowed to advertise". Whether that rule was really the case tho'...

    (Anyone who starts on about the blacked out names of products on Blue Peter will be force fed sticky-back plastic for a week.)

  51. Anonymous Coward

    I see no problem

    Windows is the most successful OS in the world and has got to that position by providing innovation, productivity and stability to users. Reporting on the next version of an OS that will be used the world over from palm-tops to server *is* news. The fact that it will offer increased capabilities and new ways of interaction *is* news.

    What we have here is a group of wannabes moaning because the little niche-player they back is just that, a niche player.

    Linux is an also-ran in the consumer market. It has had years to get ready for the mass market and catastrophically failed. The number of critical bugs it has is legion (you can't even do a simple thing like browse network shares) and you can't plug in many USB devices with out having to re-write xorg.conf (or other) files and reboot. What a joke!

  52. blue


    Not as bad as the 30 minute blowjob that the BBC's Panorama gave Microsoft when Vista was about to be launched.

    Not a word of criticism, not even a hint. That worked out the oddly un-prescient.

    What price access, eh?

  53. Paul

    No visits to trade shows now then??

    So any visit to a trade show by any BBC tech reporters is out of the question because as soon as any marketdroid opens their mouth on camera it is automatically 'advertising'?

  54. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous Coward

    Nope, that would be wrong. If you remember, Blue Peter always painted over the logos of the products they used in the "Make your Grandma a Tatty Present" segment.

    This would hardly have been considered a way to make money from the product...

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